Did you know that stress, anxiety, and depression accounts for 51% of all workplace related ill health and that it also contributes to 55% of all lost working days in the UK?
Stress, anxiety, and depression is widely recognised as one of the leading causes of long-term absence from work.
The total number of working days lost due to stress, anxiety, and depression during the 2019/2020 period was 17.9 million in the UK alone. 828,000 workers suffer from work related stress, depression, or anxiety.
It has been acknowledged that stress, depression, and anxiety are most prevalent in public service industries such as Education, Health and Social Care professions and Public Administration and Defence.
Employers have a duty of care to support the wellbeing of their employees. It is therefore key for employers to have a full understanding of the leading causes behind work related stress, how to reduce the impact of work-related stress and how to support staff who may be struggling.
Understanding the causes of work-related stress
Although it is important to note that stress, anxiety, and depression can impact an individual from circumstances outside of work, for the purpose of this blog, we will look at work related stress and how employers can implement a culture of support.
Work related stress can be caused by many factors. However, some common reasons can include:
High workload and unmanageable deadlines
Too much responsibility
Poor work life/home life balance
Lack of managerial support
Bullying in the workplace
Poor communication within the team or company
Fear of redundancy or dismissal
Fear of making an error.
Poor working environment
Inability to ‘switch off’ at the end of the working day.
Inadequate staffing to cover workload.
Unclear job roles/Expectation of staff to work outside their remits
Little or no induction period
Changes within the workplace
Lack of empathy and compassion from management
Being Mindful of how to support your employees.
We all remember workplaces where we have felt thoroughly supported and valued at work. Equally, we all remember that manager or company that treated us like dirt and did not care about our wellbeing. Which company would you want to give your best to? Which company are you likely to recommend to friends and family?
If staff are hitting the point of ‘burnout’ and are accumulating stress related sick days, then it is inevitably costing the employer more than it would do to put in preventative measures to the above. Costs include lost working days, decreased productivity and impact on reputation. Becoming a supportive, mindful employer, can literally transform a business and the lives of those who work for it.
Employers can support their employees in so many ways. When employees feel supported and valued, they can develop their potential, be productive and creative, build positive relationships with colleagues and cope with pressures they may be facing. Here are some tips on how that can be achieved, including some mindfulness practices than can be done throughout the working day to support with workforce wellbeing.
The company provides regular, high quality supervision. This includes wellbeing checks for each employee to identify any early causes of stress that may be emerging.
Monitoring of each employee’s workload. Is it manageable?
Having clear organisational priorities. Is working your employers into the ground to increase productivity more important than staff wellbeing? Assess what the impact of both are on the company.
Implement a culture of respectful, mindful communication between staff
Ensure clear policies and procedures are in place and followed.
Develop a system for praising and recognising achievements.
Ensure there is a quiet, tranquil space for breaks away from desks if relevant. If not, ensure employees have the opportunity to go outdoors.
Ensure managers have a clear understanding on how to support their team and not negatively impact wellbeing.
Ensure bullying, harassment or threats are actioned immediately and effectively.
Ensure the company manages fears around job uncertainty. Ensure transparency and emotional support is provided, particularly if someone’s job is not secure.
Consider mindfulness training for the team.
Support staff to mindfully ‘pause’ between tasks or clients.
Remind staff to be mindful to switch off from work at the end of the day.
Ask the staff how the company can best support their needs.
Some companies have chosen to send a companywide wellbeing survey to their staff. This can give a good indication as to how supported and valued the workforce feels. We recommend this process is done anonymously so that employees can be open and transparent with their answers. This also lets staff know that the company acknowledges their duty to assess wellbeing and action any shortcomings, building trust in the process.
This in turn gives the employer an understanding of fears, needs, and wants of staff. The business can then develop and define a set of goals on how best to support their staff teams. Mindfulness for the whole staff team is a great way to achieve this.
As a result of implementing the above, the following can occur:
Increase in staff wellbeing.
Increase in staff morale.
Reduction in anxiety, depression, and stress
Reduction in sick days
Increase in performance.
A happier workforce
Increased positive communication.
Improved staff retention
Improved relationships between staff and management
Attraction of high-quality candidates for future roles
Mindfulness at Work
A significant number of businesses and organisations across the globe are turning to mindfulness to support the wellbeing of their workforce. The evidence of the effectiveness of mindfulness is vast.
Implementing mindfulness into a workforce can help increase effectiveness, decrease mistakes, and even enhance creativity.
Mindfulness at work can support employees to be consciously present during the task at hand. There are short, mindful exercises that can be implemented during and in between tasks.
Staff can learn to adopt an attitude of gratitude towards each other and learn how to mindfully communicate. This promotes a more pleasant and harmonious environment to work in. It also encourages staff to build resilience levels and bring focus and clarity to their working day. Simply pausing and reflecting before speaking or sending an email can have a great impact on how the recipient receives that information and the actions that follow. By simply being mindful of your body language and how you express yourself is also critical to mindful communication.
Mindfulness is an effective tool to support staff to thrive in the workplace on an individual level and reduce the impact of work-related stress on an organisational level.
The Little Shop of Mindfulness has a range of items that can support with this journey. We have developed booklets to specifically advise on some of the above points. ‘Mindfulness at Work, Mindful Communication at Work and Mindfulness for Stress and Anxiety’. These are a great gift for a staff team and a great resource for managers to use to effect change.
The Little Shop of Mindfulness also provides bespoke mindfulness employee gift sets to support the wellbeing of staff teams. We have provided large, customised orders to both private and public sector companies including NHS teams, large private corporations, Local Authorities and Charities. Our ‘Creating a Mindful Environment’ gift set is particularly popular for staff teams.
Feel free to get in contact to discuss the needs of your business and to see how we can match you with the correct employee packages.